Because I am mean and like to rain on parades…

A parade in the rain

All day I’ve been seeing tweets from @kobo and friends about their having the No. 1 e-reading app in the iTunes store—e.g.,

Breaking News: Kobo #1 Rated eReading App on iTunes App Store
Jason Gamblen | Kobo

I’m so happy for them.

No, really.

For several months now, Kobo’s iOS app has been, mainly because of the stats and the activity tracker, my e-reading application of choice. That said, it’s my app of choice in spite of several intense annoyances, so I’d like to take this opportunity to point out a couple of things that drive me up the fucking wall about it. From the support ticket I just submitted:

Congratulations on having the top-ranked e-reader in the iTunes app store! Now, could you make it better, please?


  1. The Dictionary / Highlight / Notes / Share toolbar often overlaps highlighted text so that it’s impossible to grab the handles to extend the selection area.
  2. Once you’ve highlighted a word or phrase, there is no way to remove the highlight.
  3. Sometimes, the chunk of text that’s selected is not the text that ends up being highlighted; sometimes nothing gets highlighted at all. Reselecting the text and rehighlighting it does not solve the problem. Changing the font size to force repagination does sometimes solve the problem, but it’s time consuming.
  4. About 25 percent of the times I try to attach a note to selected text, the app crashes. Usually the note is lost in the crash, though the text sometimes remains highlighted.
  5. The application crashes about 75 percent of the times I attempt to turn Kobo Styling on or off.


  1. I can’t believe that in this modern day and age,1 I still can’t sort my library by author. Is this because the metadata’s so inconsistent and full of garbage? If so, let users to edit the metadata–at least the title and author.
  2. The new user-created shelves are a nice idea, but the interface for adding a book to a shelf is weak: title and author are not enough information to go on if you have a large library. I’d like to be able to long-press on an item to see the cover and more metadata. I’d also like to be able to add a book to shelves from the book’s “Overview” panel.
  3. Allow users to edit shelves through
  4. Allow users to share activity updates to Goodreads.
  5. Allow users to export activity updates and highlights as XML, CSV, HTML table, anything.


There. I feel better now.

  1. A string of sailoresque expletives may or may not have been redacted from this area. []

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